Being arrested for an OUI (Operating Under the Influence) can be a major issue in someone’s life, both personally and professionally, before even being convicted of the crime. If you have been arrested and charged with OUI in Cambridge, contact us today to begin working with an experienced OUI attorney as soon as possible to begin building your defense and identify the most appropriate courses of actions. Act as soon as possible to ensure that you do not miss any time-sensitive deadlines — such as an appeal to have your license reinstated through the duration of your trial if you refused a chemical test.
Read more below to learn about some specifics about OUI arrests in Massachusetts, and contact us to schedule a free initial consultation to learn more about how we can help you out of the situation you are currently in. We can discuss the specifics of your arrest, the charges you are facing, and give you a better idea of how we have historically handled similar cases to your own, and how we will handle yours.
What Is an OUI?
A charge of Operating Under the Influence (OUI) is sometimes confused with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) that is issued in other states, but the main difference is the use of “operating” instead of “driving.” “Operating,” in legal terms according to the Massachusetts courts, covers more situations than the term “driving,” and therefore gives a wider range of opportunities to charge offenders. Operating a motor vehicle includes situations where the vehicle is not being driven, and in some cases not even running, but the keys are in the ignition. In other states, someone found intoxicated in their vehicle with the keys in the off position in the ignition may not be charged with a crime.
Massachusetts is a notoriously strict state when it comes to impaired operation of motor vehicles. For example, Melanie’s Law was introduced to increase punishments for repeat offenders.
OUI Charges in Massachusetts
OUIs are issued for adult drivers of passenger vehicles for having a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) in excess of 0.08%. However, CDL drivers who are operating commercial vehicles have a limit of 0.04%, and minors have a limit of 0.02%. BAC is not the only indication of intoxication — police use a series of field sobriety tests and other measures to determine whether or not the operator is under the influence of any other controlled substances as well. Refusing a chemical test like a breathalyzer will result in an automatic license suspension, which can be appealed within 15 days of the arrest.
Although field sobriety tests are used to determine the suspect’s ability to control their mental and physical faculties and can help an officer determine the condition of the driver, they are not admissible in court because they are highly subjective, and fail to consider any other factors such as the suspect’s possible disabilities, as well as roadside conditions and/or stress and nerves. Whatever the conditions of your arrest, we will work to gather all of the available information in order to present a full picture of the situation and find the most appropriate options to pursue the best possible outcome.
OUI Penalties in Massachusetts
The penalties for an OUI in Cambridge depend on a variety of factors, but the primary factor is the offender’s history of OUI arrests. A first offense, without any enhancements, has the lightest penalties of all, but is still incredibly detrimental. Enhancements can be added for things like child endangerment, open containers, possession of controlled substances, and more.
OUI First Offense
A first-offense OUI is a misdemeanor charge, and comes with the possibility of $500 in fines, up to 30 days in jail, and a 1-year license suspension. During this suspension, you may be able to apply for a hardship license that grants driving privileges during specified hours in order to allow you to get to and from work, medical obligations, or other important things. If you are granted a hardship license, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in the vehicle, which will require you to pass a breathalyzer before turning on the vehicle.
OUI Second Offense
A second-offense OUI is still a misdemeanor but comes with increased penalties. Fines can range between 30 days and 30 months of jail, fines up to $10,000, and a 2-year license suspension. Hardship licenses may also be granted, but you will be required to use an IID in your vehicle for 2 years after having your full license reinstated, regardless of whether or not it was used during your hardship period.
OUI Third Offense
A third OUI in Massachusetts is a felony, and the penalties increase as well as the seriousness of the charge. Fines can go up to $15,000, and you may be sentenced to 5 years in jail, as well as have your license suspended for 8 years. An IID is required for 2 years after your license is reinstated.
OUI Fourth Offense
A fourth OUI comes with fines of up to $25,000, jail time of between 1-5 years, and a 10-year license suspension.
OUI Fifth Offense
A fifth OUI results in a permanent loss of driving privileges, as well as up to $50,000 in fines and between 2-5 years in jail.
Contact Us Today
If you have been charged with an OUI in Cambridge, contact us as soon as possible to begin working on your case with an experienced attorney who is ready to take your case. We will work together to identify creative opportunities to ensure that we are moving towards a fair outcome for your trial, and will identify all possible long-term issues that we can either avoid or mitigate in order to keep your life moving forward during this difficult time.